In order to fully gain a deeper understanding of cultural groups diverse from your own, it is imperative that students begin to integrate their educational experiences with cultural activities that explore culture beyond the classroom. The Cultural Immersion Activity is intended to address this much needed educational experience. Choose a cultural experience in which you immerse yourself in a culture other than your own.
You must s ct cu tu th t you ss f mi i with in o d to “st tch” nd challenge yourself. This experience will have the most value if you choose an experience you have never had before. An example includes attending a festival/celebration from a specific culture. Make sure the event, activity, or community is one that is open to non-group members. You must actively attempt to interact with community members, rather than be a passive observer. It helps to have a cultural broker who can explain the traditions and beliefs to you. You may do this experience with friends, families, or classmates but please use your judgment and be respectful. R m mb you w kin into som on s ’s “hom ”—therefore, do not go in a large group or be voyeuristic. You need instructor approval before engaging in your immersion. Submit documentation that provides verification of immersion experiences when you submit your reflection papers.
Important Note: You are responsible for finding the event and emailing the instructor to get the event approved for attendance. It would be helpful to announce events to the class as you become aware of them. Please note that eating dinner at a restaurant and going to noninteractive museums/exhibits does not constitute a cultural immersion experience.
At the conclusion of the activity, you will write a three-page reflection paper that discusses your personal reactions to the immersion experiences (see below for questions to consider). I am not interested in a recap of the day where you simply tell me step by step what you did and what happened. While some of this may be necessary at times, I want the bulk of your reflection to be about what you learned and how you intend to take that information and do something with it in the future. Reflections that include surface- comm nts such s “this w s m in ” o “I
n d ot ” ck c itic n ysis nd wi not c i fu points. so b c fu to oid “ xotici in ” th community you imm s d you s f in.
Questions to consider in your reflection: What did I observe and experience in myself when being with this population? What did I observe as evidence of surface culture versus deep culture (see Comas-Diaz text for examples)? Who am I in relation to this culture (i.e., In what ways am I an insider/outsider?) How will this experience impact me as a clinician? How will I integrate this experience into my clinical work? How will this inform my therapeutic approach? Was this experience consistent or inconsistent with the theories we have learned in class and in our reading?
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